What Are Compensatory Damages?

May 11, 2022 | Article by Chain | Cohn | Clark staff

What Are Compensatory Damages?

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are intended to make it so a lawsuit’s plaintiff is awarded enough money to cover the expenses paid towards their injury or loss. Compensatory damages can be broken down into two different categories: actual and general. 

Actual damages will cover the plaintiff in a monetary value that replaces exactly what is lost— nothing more and nothing less. The idea of actual damages originated in the Supreme Court case Birsdall v. Coolidge, 93 U.S. 64 (1876).

Some actual damages include: 

  • Property replacement or repair
  • Transportation costs
  • Ambulance expenses
  • Medicine and prescription drugs
  • Nursing home care
  • Domestic services
  • Medical and hospital bills
  • Medical treatments
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Physical therapy
  • Medical equipment
  • Lost wages or lost employment income
  • Increased living expenses

Losses suffered by the plaintiff must equate to a monetary value in order for them to be honored with actual compensatory damages. 

In addition to actual losses, there are also general losses that may be compensated. These include predictions of a loss that may not actually include money spent. 

General losses can be classified as non-economic losses. These may include:

  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • Future medical expenses
  • Future lost wages
  • Long-term physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium (also called loss of companionship)
  • Inconvenience
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of opportunity

Medical malpractice suits that include coverage for medical bills, hospital bills, and rehabilitation bills are the most common type of compensatory damages sought. Loss of consortium or companionship is another commonly pursued loss. 

Other damages in this category may be more difficult to ascertain. An example of this is lost wages. There will be much higher returns for higher income individuals than for the poor or retired. 

Punitive damages may also be an option. These are used to punish the defendant for an extravagant wrongdoing. 

Treble damages are a form of punitive damage. This means a plaintiff may be able to receive up to three times the amount of their awarded compensatory damages. Treble damages are awarded if a defendant purposely violated the law.

Building a Case for You

Documents will pile up throughout your case, starting with the police’s accident report. Here at Chain | Cohn | Clark, we want to help you build your case to ensure you receive full and fair financial compensation as you move toward recovery. 

Some of the documents we will collect include:

  • Medical projections and outcomes
  • Salary history
  • Your written statement 
  • Witness statements

The more you comply with our requests, the more we can help you.

Contact an Insurance Attorney Today

Were you recently in an accident and are now facing large medical bills? We may be able to help you receive compensatory damages. 

Our experienced lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Clark can get you the compensation you deserve—and won’t take a dime unless you settle or win your case. 

Call (661) 323-4000 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment today.